一個璀璨的機關,被迫裁撤打散,留下無盡的懷念與婉惜...

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雪泥鴻爪

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《刺鳥》(The Thorn Birds),是澳洲作家柯琳·馬嘉祿(Colleen McCullough /1937年6月1日-2015年 1月 29日)的代表作,1977年3月初版,一時洛陽紙貴,成為世界最暢銷書,銷售量超過3千萬冊。此書為作者帶來財富與聲望。據作者自己說,她這本書讓世人知道澳洲在哪裡 (It puts Australia on the map)。澳洲政府為了表示對她的敬意與謝意,在2010年特別發行推崇她的郵票,說她是「澳洲的傳奇人物」(Australian legend)。

 

《刺鳥》的書名取自塞爾特的傳說 (Celtic Legend)。這種鳥離巢獨立後,就不停地尋找有刺的樹,不達目的絕不中止。找到之後,牠的胸部就往樹上最尖、最長的刺撞去。臨死之前,牠將劇痛昇華為清脆悅耳的歌聲,連雲雀和夜鶯都要黯然失色。雖然以生命作為代價,只換得一首動聽的歌,但是全世界的人都側耳傾聽,包括上帝在內。

為此傳說作最佳詮釋的是書中的男女主角:澳洲一個牧場管理人的獨生女梅姬(Meggie Cleary)與當地教區的神父洛夫(Father Ralph de Bricassart),兩人年齡相差18歲。梅姬對神父情有獨鍾,眷戀不已;洛夫為梅姬的天生麗質所吸引,漸漸地背棄了一個神職人員的誓言。在一個極為僻靜的島上,洛夫找到在那兒度假的梅姬,男歡女愛,成就了愛的結晶,取名丹恩(Dane)。但是梅姬不讓洛夫知道丹恩是他的兒子,直到丹恩當了神父,有天在希臘克里特島海邊,為了救人反而自己溺斃後,方才向他透露。此時洛夫已經71歲,經不起如此震撼,在丹恩的葬禮完畢之後不久,安安靜靜地死在梅姬的懷裡。

1983年《刺鳥》改編為迷你電視連續劇,於當年3月27日至30日在美國播出,收視率僅次於美國黑人作家Alex Haley所著《根》(Roots: The Saga of an American Family)改編的迷你電視連續劇。《根》於1977年在美國廣播公司(ABC)播出時,觀眾超過1億3千萬人。

主要情節與場景

富孀瑪麗·卡森 (Mary Carson)

卡森夫人寡居多年,是牧場的所有人,以飼養綿羊為主。牧場在澳洲邊遠地區的卓吉達 (Drogheda),面積極大,一望無際。洛夫的教區則在離卓吉達不遠、名叫基倫朋 (Gillanbone) 的小鎮。小說中對卓吉達這個地區,描述如下:「灰褐色的大地充滿了生氣。成群上千的袋鼠在樹林間跳躍著,牠們越過柵欄,那種優雅、自由自在、以及數量之多,看起來可愛極了。鴕鳥把牠們的巢築在草原的中央,而且像巨人一般,高視闊步在牠們的疆土上,向每個陌生人挑戰,為了看守足球一般大的黑褐色的蛋,牠們跑得比馬還快。白蟻造的褐紅色塔,有如迷你摩天樓。咬人兇猛的大螞蟻,隨著河流而來,在地上挖了許多洞。」(The grey-brown land swarmed with life. Kangaroos in flocks of thousands streamed leaping through the trees, taking fences in their stride, utterly lovely in their grace and freedom and numbers; emus built their nests in the middle of the grassy plain and stalked like giants about their territorial boundaries, taking fright at anything strange and running fleeter than horses away from their dark-green, football-sized eggs; termites built rusty towers like miniature skyscrapers; huge ants with a savage bite poured in rivers down mounded holes in the ground)

卡森夫人除了賣羊毛外,也投資其他產業,富可敵國。洛夫因為對大主教不敬,被貶到基倫朋這個邊遠小鎮當神父,頗為懊惱。為了早一點翻身,對可能對他前途極有幫助的卡森夫人,自然百般示好,經常為她個人做彌撒。卡森夫人年紀已65,但對28歲的洛夫神父有「相逢恨晚」的落寞情愫,對他還有點奢想。她對洛夫的印象如下:「在她一生中沒有看過比他長得更漂亮的男人,也沒有一個人能夠如此地運用外貌的優點。他應該知道他自己長得如何:高挺的個子,勻稱的身材,貴族的氣質,在上帝創造的子民當中,他算是少數得天獨厚、被刻意如此雕塑而成的。」(In all her life she could not remember seeing a better-looking man, nor one who used his beauty in quite the same way. He had to be aware of how he looked: the height and the perfect proportions of his body, the fine aristocratic features, the way every physical element had been put together with a degree of care about the appearance of the finished product God lavished on few of His creations.)

巴迪·克利里 (Paddy Cleary)一家

巴迪·克利里是卡森夫人的親弟弟,原住紐西蘭,娶了富家女費(Fee),總共生了8個小孩,一家生活清苦。梅姬排行第6,是家中唯一女孩。卡森夫人膝下無子女,且自覺年事已高,因請弟弟巴迪到澳洲卓吉達,幫她管理牧場,她死後,巴迪就可順理成章地繼承她的產業。

巴迪帶了一家人,坐船到澳洲,然後搭火車到吉倫朋。受卡森夫人之託,洛夫神父到車站接他們。梅姬那時10 歲,洛夫28。當晚洛夫躺在床上,回想他看到的巴迪家的每一個成員,認為他們都不錯,對梅姬的印象尤其深刻:

「倒是梅姬,她真是他見過最漂亮最可愛的小女孩;她頭髮的顏色難以形容,既不是紅色,也不是金黃色,卻是兩種兼有的混合色。當她抬眼看他時,眼光露出的輕柔銀灰色,就像是融化了的鑽石一般迷人。」(… and Meggie. The sweetest, the most adorable little girl he had ever seen; hair of a color which defied description, not red and not gold, a perfect fusion of both. And looking up at him with silver-grey eyes of such a lambent purity, like melted jewels.)

之後,洛夫神父對巴迪一家人非常照顧,巴迪家有任何困難,洛夫一定前來幫忙,對小梅姬尤其呵護備至,而梅姬則把洛夫當成她生活的重心。梅姬15歲時,洛夫神父送給她一套騎馬裝備,並親自教她騎馬,這使得兩人的親密關係更邁進一大步:「在洛夫神父教導下騎馬,使她表現出從來沒有過的愉悅,因為此時她對洛夫神父的感覺,已從早先的崇拜變成熱烈的、少女般的愛慕。她知道這是不可能的,但她還是奢想著他,想知道接受他的擁吻是何種滋味。她的夢想止於此而已,因為她不知道跟著來的是啥,或甚至會有任何事情發生。如果她知道如此夢想一個神父是錯誤的,她也不知道有任何節制的辦法,使自己不這樣想。她所能做的是,儘量不讓他知道她對他的情感已有突變。」(To learn under the aegis of Father Ralph cast her into a joy which she didn't show, for by this time her adoration of Father Ralph had turned into an ardent, very girlish crush. Knowing it was quite impossible, she permitted herself the luxury of dreaming about him, of wondering what it would be like to be held in his arms, receive his kiss. Further than that her dreams couldn't go, as she had no idea what came next, or even that anything came next. And if she knew it was wrong to dream so of a priest, there didn't seem to be any way she could discipline herself into not doing it. The best she could manage was to make absolutely sure he had no idea of the unruly turn her thoughts had taken.)

洛夫接受卡森夫人的矚託

卡森夫人對洛夫與梅姬的交往,心中非常不快,認為洛夫愛上梅姬,拋棄了她老人家。她要想辦法拆散他們。她修改遺囑,把她大部分產業的處理權交給洛夫,她認為洛夫會將產業收益捐給教廷,教廷會讓他步步高昇,使他忘記梅姬。她把改好的遺囑放進信封裡,用紅蠟封起來,在慶祝她70大壽舞會那天晚上交給洛夫,叮嚀他要在她死後才能打開。洛夫送她上樓就寢時,卡森夫人說她就要死了,要洛夫像情人一樣吻她的嘴,洛夫說他是神父,不能做這件事情。卡森夫人惱羞成怒,尖酸地笑說:「喔!洛夫,你真是個騙子!假男人,假神父!我想起有一次你真有那個衝動要與我做愛呢!你那麼肯定我會拒絕嗎?我多希望我沒拒絕!如果我們能讓那個夜晚再回來,我會把我的靈魂全部交給你。騙子!騙子!騙子!這就是你,洛夫!一個性無能、沒用的騙子!性無能的男人,性無能的神父!我不認為你能讓它翹起來,為聖母瑪利亞昂然舉起!布利卡撒神父,你曾使它挺立過嗎?你這個騙子!』」(She laughed shrilly, eerily. "Oh, Ralph, what a sham you are! Sham man, sham priest! And to think once you actually had the temerity to offer to make love to me! Were you so positive I'd refuse? How I wish I hadn't! I'd give my soul to see you wriggle out of it if we could have that night back again! Sham, sham, sham! That's all you are, Ralph! An impotent, useless sham! Impotent man and impotent priest! I don't think you could get it up and keep it up for the Blessed Virgin herself! Have you ever managed to get it up, Father de Bricassart? Sham!")

洛夫神父當時並沒有頂撞她,但是稍後他自言自語地說:「瑪麗,妳錯了。我可以使它挺立,只是我不願意這樣做。我花了多年時間證明,我可以控制它,主導它,壓抑它。因為讓它翹起來是男人的本能,而我是神父。」(Yet you're wrong, Mary. I can get it up. It's just that I don't choose to, that I've spent years proving to myself it can be controlled, dominated, subjugated. For getting it up is the activity of a man, and I am a priest.)

卡森夫人當晚離開人世。洛夫打開信封,看了遺囑,欣然接受她的委託。但是他對巴迪家的每一分子都有妥善的安排,包括他們繼續管理牧場,以及每年每人都可以收到金額不小的支票等,可以過相當美好的日子。洛夫選擇了教會和自己的前程,與梅姬說再見,離開吉倫朋教區。

梅姬與路克·歐尼爾( Luke O’Neill)結婚

1932年8月,卓吉達及其鄰近地區受到暴風與火災的侵襲,牧場損失慘重,梅姬的父親巴迪被火燒死,她的一位哥哥史都在尋找父親時,被野豬的大獠牙頂死。洛夫神父很快地就趕到卓吉達,協助處理善後,這是5年來他第一次回到牧場。與梅姬再次見面,關愛之情意有增無減。臨別時,已經22歲的梅姬,送給他一朵灰紅色的玫瑰花作紀念。洛夫知道梅姬要他也回贈紀念品,但是他說:「我不會給妳。我要妳忘了我,我要妳看看你周圍的世界,找一個好男人跟他結婚,生幾個妳一直想要的孩子。做母親是妳的天賦。妳不能依附著我,那是不對的。我不可能離開教會,我很坦白地告訴妳,這是為了妳好。我不要離開教會,因為我無法像一個丈夫那樣地愛妳,妳懂嗎?忘記我,梅姬!」("I won't give you one. I want you to forget me, I want you to look around your world and find some good kind man, marry him, have the babies you want so much. You're a born mother. You mustn't cling to me, it isn't right. I can never leave the Church, and I'm going to be completely honest with you, for your own sake. I don't want to leave the Church, because I don't love you the way a husband will, do you understand? Forget me, Meggie!")

父親死後,梅姬的大哥巴柏挑起經營牧場的重擔,需要增添人手;長得有點像洛夫的年輕小伙子路克,經人介紹到牧場工作。路克上工賣力,贏得大家的好感。其實,路克早就打聽到卓吉達牧場有個漂亮的千金梅姬,娶了她以後,自己創業的夢想可以及早實現,因對梅姬大獻殷勤。23歲的梅姬,在此位情場老手的攻勢下,很快就答應跟他結婚。

婚後,兩人離開了卓吉達前往北昆士蘭。路克拿走了梅姬名下的所有錢,把她安排寄宿在一對年老夫婦的家裡,他自己選擇最賺錢的割甘蔗工作,超時加班,想早點買下一塊牧場,18個月中只和老婆見面6次。

梅姬與路克分手

路克並不想跟梅姬生小孩,常用讓梅姬不舒服的避孕方式與她做愛。梅姬自學性知識後懷孕,生了一名臉上長滿雀斑的女孩賈絲汀(Justine),但是路克只愛自己的事業,根本不關心梅姬以及他們的女兒。梅姬生產時,路克根本沒在她身邊,倒是洛夫趕來了,為她打氣。臨走時,洛夫要梅姬堅強,保持她一貫的甜美笑容,要她永遠做他的梅姬。聽了他這番話,梅姬以憤怒的眼光說道:「唉,算了吧,洛夫!我不是妳的梅姬,我從來不是。你不要我,你把我推給路克。你認為我是什麼,聖人嗎?修女嗎?我不是,我是個平凡人,你破壞了我的生活。這些年來,我一直愛著你,想要忘記你,然後嫁了一個我認為長得有一點像你的人,但他也不需要我。我渴望被一個男人需要,難道這過分了嗎?」("Oh, come off it, Ralph! I'm not your Meggie, I never was! You didn't want me, you sent me to him, to Luke. What do you think I am, some sort of saint, or a nun? Well, I'm not! I'm an ordinary human being, and you've spoiled my life! All the years I've loved you, and wanted to forget you, but then I married a man I thought looked a little bit like you, and he doesn't want me or need me either. Is it so much to ask of a man, to be needed and wanted by him?")

梅姬產後,身體一直沒有復原,體重下降。那對好心的老夫婦同情她,勸她到僻靜的梅洛克島度假兩個月,女兒交給他們帶,費用不必擔心,因為洛夫大主教及她在卓吉達的大哥都給她寄來面額極大的支票。

梅姬去度假沒幾天,洛夫就來看她,因為他要去梵蒂岡很長的一段時間,順便跟她告別。老夫婦知道梅姬與洛夫的關係,把梅姬度假的地點告訴他。洛夫毫不猶豫,直奔梅洛克島。梅姬見到洛夫,又驚又喜,她告訴自己說,這次是洛夫來求她了。書中對兩人在島上的幾天生活,敘述如下:「男歡女愛,夜以繼日。甚至夏日的大雨都是美麗的;光著身子在大雨中散步,聽著雨點打在鐵皮屋頂上的聲音,夏雨就像太陽一樣溫暖,撫摸著他們。太陽出來時,他們也散步,懶散地躺在沙灘上,游泳;因為他正在教她游泳。」(Day followed day, and night followed night. Even the heavy summer rains were beautiful, to be walked in naked and listened to on the iron roof, as warm and full of caresses as the sun. And when the sun was out they walked too, lazed on the beach, swam; for he was teaching her to swim.)

那幾天,洛夫對梅姬說,他從來沒有這麼快樂過,也從來沒有這麼不快樂過;梅姬說,她瞭解。臨別時,洛夫把梅姬拉進懷裡,抱著她,撫摸她閃亮的頭髮,說道:「梅姬,我全心全意希望能娶妳,再也不和妳分離。我不要離開妳….在某種程度上,我與妳已脫不了關係。我希望我沒來梅洛克。但是我們就是我們,無法改變,也許這樣倒也好。如果我沒來的話,我永遠也發現不了、面對不了許多事情。應付已知的事情,總比去處理未知的事情要好。我愛妳,永遠愛妳,妳要記住。」("Meggie, I wish with all my heart I could marry you, never be apart from you again. I don't want to leave you .... And in a way I'll never be free of you again. I wish I hadn't come to Matlock. But we can't change what we are, and perhaps it's just as well. I know things about myself I would never have known or faced if I hadn't come. It's better to contend with the known than the unknown. I love you. I always have, and I always will. Remember it.")

梅姬知道她懷孕了。回到北昆士蘭後,她馬上去找路克,與他做最後一次愛、又臭罵他一頓後,決定與他分手。她不要路克一毛錢,路克也煩她已久,馬上同意從此各走各路。梅姬與路克上床,是有她的盤算的:小孩子生下來後,她可以說是路克的種,她不要讓洛夫知道小孩的父親是他。

梅姬回到卓吉達

1936年,梅姬與路克分手後,回到卓吉達,把小孩生下,是男的,取名丹恩·歐尼爾(Dane O'Neill)。梅姬的母親,一見到小孩就知道父親是誰。梅姬則把丹恩看成是她與教會爭奪洛夫勝利的結果。梅姬第一次餵奶時,很滿足地喃喃自語道:「有了他,我就滿足了,我不再奢求什麼。愛上帝甚於愛我的洛夫·布里卡撒,我發誓,你絕對不會知道我從你與祂那兒偷到什麼,我絕不會告訴你有關丹恩的事情。哦,我的乖乖,你是我的,我絕不會把你交給任何人,尤其是你的父親,他是神父,他不能認你。這不是太好了嗎?」(He is enough; he has to be enough, I'll not get any more. But by God, Ralph de Bricassart, by that God you love more than me, you'll never know what I stole from you-and from Him. I'm never going to tell you about Dane. My baby! You're mine, and I'm never going to give you up to anyone else. Least of all to your father, who is a priest and can't acknowledge you. Isn't that wonderful?)

洛夫的懺悔

洛夫大主教到羅馬,向提拔他的維多利奧樞機主教懺悔,說他已背棄了擔任神職的三個誓言:幾年前他接受了瑪麗·卡森夫人的矚託,「守貧」(poverty)的誓言就打破了,現在「貞節」(chastity) 與「服從」(obedience)的誓言也打破了。他說:「我是一個男人,做為一個男人我從她身上找到快樂,此種快樂我以前做夢也想不到。我不知道撫摸女人的感覺是那麼樣地美好,也不知道那是一種無盡喜悅的泉源。我一輩子也不要離開她,那不僅僅是因為她的身體,而是因為我就是喜歡跟她在一起,跟她談話,與她默默無語相對,吃她燒的飯,對她笑,分享她的想法。在我有生之年,我會一直想念她。」("I'm a man, and as a man I found a pleasure in her I didn't dream existed. I didn't know a woman felt like that, or could be the source of such profound joy. I wanted never to leave her, not only because of her body, but because I just loved to be with her-talk to her, not talk to her, eat the meals she cooked, smile at her, share her thoughts. I shall miss her as long as I live.")

洛夫向樞機主教表示,對他而言,梅姬是神聖的,是另一種聖蹟。樞機主教嘆息說:「我瞭解,你有這種感覺是好的,在天主的眼中,我想可以減輕你的罪惡。」(“Yes, I understand,” sighed the Cardinal. “It is well you feel so. In Our Lord’s eyes I think it will mitigate the great sin.”)

丹恩矢志當神父

洛夫相當長一段時間沒到卓吉達,當他再度造訪時,見到的第一個人是時已13歲的丹恩。兩人初次見面,彼此印象甚好,而當丹恩知道來者是有名的樞機主教時,開始對他著迷起來。梅姬時年已41,她還是洛夫的梅姬,但是她沒有告訴他丹恩是他的兒子。

丹恩18歲時,有一天跟他媽說:「我要當神父,我要當祂的僕人,貢獻我的一切。祂對所選的僕人要求很嚴,守貧、貞節、服從,這不容易做到,但我願去做。」梅姬聽了,心如刀割,但兒子心意已決,她只好順水推舟,說可以送他到羅馬的一家神學院進修,請洛夫樞機主教就近照顧。這真是應了梅姬母親費講的一句話:「妳從上帝那兒偷來的,現在你必須歸還。」(What you stole from God, you must now give back.)

丹恩在羅馬花了8年的時間,才得到神父的職位,那時他26歲。卓吉達的人認為這是一件大事,親戚們組團到羅馬看他受命為神父。正式成為神父後,丹恩開車到希臘度假,有一天在克里特島海邊,爲了營救兩名落水的德國女遊客,不幸自己溺死了,屍體被草草就地埋葬。梅姬到羅馬請洛夫樞機主教利用他的關係,儘快找回丹恩屍體。當梅姬告訴他丹恩是他的兒子時,洛夫的兩行老淚潸然而下,梅姬接著說:「 哭吧,你終於知道了!你是他的雙親之一,應該哭的。哭吧,洛夫!二十六年來,我帶著你的兒子,而你毫不知情,你甚至看不出來他是你的兒子,你看不出來他就是你的翻版。我生下他時,我母親一看就知道了,而你一直不曉得。你們有同樣的雙手、足、臉龐、眼睛、體格;除了頭髮的顏色是他自己的,其他都酷似你。你現在知道了吧?當年我把他交給你照顧時,我在信上說:『我所竊取的,現在還給你。』你記得嗎?其實是我們共同竊取的,洛夫。我們是從你對上帝的誓言中偷取的,我們倆必須為此付出代價。」( "Cry, now that you know! It's right that one of his parents be able to shed tears for him. Cry, Ralph! For twenty-six years I had your son and you didn't even know it, you couldn't even see it. Couldn't see that he was you all over again! When my mother took him from me at birth she knew, but you never did. Your hands, your feet, your face, your eyes, your body. Only the color of his hair was his own; all the rest was you. Do you understand now? When I sent him here to you, I said it in my letter. "What I stole, I give back." Remember? Only we both stole, Ralph. We stole what you had vowed to God, and we've both had to pay.")

丹恩埋葬的地方很快就找到,屍體由他的雙親一起護送到卓吉達的家族墓地。他的葬禮完後不久,洛夫也隨之去世。梅姬在短短幾天內,失去了她一生中最愛的兩個男人,雖然傷心欲絕,但是她不怨任何人,也不後悔,她還要勇敢地活下去。

故事以梅姬的語氣,作了如下的結尾:「以刺穿胸的鳥,牠遵循永恆的定律;牠不管什麼刺插在牠身上,牠就是唱到死才罷休。在刺剛插進去的當兒,牠一點兒也不覺得死亡就要來臨;牠只是不停地唱,直到再也唱不出一個音符為止。但是我們人類,在把刺插進胸膛時,卻十分清楚後果為何。我們是知道的。但是我們還是照做。我們就是要這麼做。」 (06/01/2015完稿)

 


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